Campaign Contributions, Financial Disclosure Tie Rep Beth Fukumoto to Alleged Ponzi Scheme
Honolulu Rail Deal Fallout: Neighbor Islands Want A More Open Legislature
CB: …The neighbor island resolutions say Hawaii’s Sunshine Law states open meetings are important because they open “the governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation.” The Legislature is exempted from the law, and the House and Senate set their own rules….
House rules say “certain kinds of meetings, including executive sessions, organizational meetings, partisan caucuses, and meetings the subject of which involves the invasion of a person’s right to privacy if made public, need not be open to the public.”
According to the Senate rules, “meetings in executive session may be allowed in such exceptional circumstances when committee discussion could unfairly damage the reputation of individuals or where there is a legal question concerning a bill.”
Lawmakers are able to suspend these rules with a majority vote at any time, said Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, in an email. The Senate president and House speaker can shorten the amount of time required by the rules to provide notice of public meetings….
The Kauai and Maui resolutions passed their county councils unanimously last month, as West Hawaii Today’s Nancy Cook Lauer reported.
Valerie Poindexter, chair of the Hawaii County Council, expects the Big Island’s resolution to pass as well.
Some of her council colleagues are skeptical legislators will agree to follow the Sunshine Law and worry it could slow the legislative process down, making it difficult to pass anything. There are other ways to improve transparency, Poindexter said, such as having longer sessions.
On the day legislators announced the details of their plan to fund rail, Poindexter said she and the other county council chairs met with the architects of the bill. It was made clear to the council chairs that no amendments would be made….
“We need to stop the backdoor deals and we need to make sure that we are giving the power to the people,” she said, adding she hopes “people take the power back and come out to vote.”
Neighbor island residents didn’t have an opportunity to participate, except for two minutes of public testimony during hearings, said Kauai County Council Chair Mel Rapozo. It’s already inconvenient for constituents to personally participate in discussion, given that hey have to fly to Honolulu.
Neighbor island council chairs who were called back up before the House committees were “disrespected,” he said….
“This last (rail special) session clearly showed the counties, especially the neighbor islands, how a lot of decisions were made,” he said…..
read … Honolulu Rail Deal Fallout: Neighbor Islands Want A More Open Legislature
Kakaako Sweep: 32 Homeless Forced to Accept Shelter
SA: Less than 100 homeless people were observed at Kakaako Park, Gateway and Kewalo Basin parks Sunday night before deputy sheriffs arrived and cleared the area.
Sheriff vehicles also were patrolling the parks before dawn today.
Between Tuesday and Sunday night, outreach workers placed 32 people into a shelter including families with children, according to state homeless coordinator Scott Morishige.
“Outreach teams are going to continue to come out to this area, make sure they can talk to people who may have been displaced and really continue to link them to shelter and housing…,” Morishige said today.
Reports of fires, dog attacks and vandalism prompted the state to close the parks for safety reasons and to conduct repairs…..
Sitting on a folded blanket on the sidewalk behind the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, Dayna Maiolu, 42, who has lived at Kakaako Waterfront Park for the past few months, said, “Many of of us can’t go to shelters because of
our pets (insert excuse here).”
read … State sheriffs perform homeless sweep of Kakaako Waterfront Park
Could the rail project bring more affordable housing?
KHON: …A Honolulu councilman is proposing a measure that would create a special fund to attract developers to build along the rail.
City councilman Ernie Martin told KHON2 he introduced the idea after attending a recent rail conference….
here’s how Martin’s proposal would work.
Let’s say the cost of a project is $10 million, but the profit from affordable housing only brings in $5 million. Money from the special rail housing fund would supplement the difference.
“Hopefully by creating this type of incentive of special financing, I think developers might take a look at it instead of just focusing on Kakaako where a lot of the development has occurred thus far,” Martin said.
So where would the money come from?
Martin said existing resources and federal funds could be moved around, or the money could come from the private sector….
The proposal is on the agenda for this week’s city council meeting. We’ll let you know where it goes….
read … Could the rail project bring more affordable housing?
Legislators Plan more Gun Control Bills Next Session
SA: Senate Judiciary Committee Vice Chairman Karl Rhoads said his review of state law also suggests bump stocks are legal in Hawaii, and he wants to change that….
Not everyone agrees that bump stocks are allowed in Hawaii under current law. Joshua Wisch, special assistant to state Attorney General Douglas Chin, said the state law that prohibits private ownership of automatic weapons or modifying guns to convert them into automatic weapons also covers the bump stock device.
“Our statute doesn’t use the term ‘bump stock’ — that exact term is not in there — but that being said, modifying a weapon can make it automatic, and any modifying of a weapon that makes it automatic is illegal in Hawaii,” Wisch said.
He said the bump stock device allows semi-automatic weapons to mimic the firing speed of an automatic weapon, “so we think that, yes, it would make it an automatic weapon, which would make it illegal.”…
Staff for the House Judiciary Committee also concluded the existing law covers the bump stock and that such mechanisms are illegal in Hawaii.
However, if there is any question about the devices’ legality, House Judiciary Chairman Scott Nishimoto said, he wants to clarify the law to clearly ban them in Hawaii….
Best Comment: “These fools don't even know the laws they pass? They should all be fired.”
SA: Pass law against “bump stocks”
read … Isle lawmakers seek explicit ban on ‘bump stocks’
Pearl Harbor shipyard is Navy’s most backlogged
SA: …Pearl Harbor had the lowest maintenance work timeliness….
Between 2000 and 2016, 14 percent of that work came out on time. Put another way, 49 of 57 maintenance jobs were delayed, according to GAO, resulting in 4,128 lost operational days for nuclear-powered submarines. Submarine maintenance comprises over 90 percent of Pearl Harbor’s work.
By comparison, Puget Sound had a 29 percent on-time rating, Portsmouth 34 percent and Norfolk 45 percent….
Of the 49 maintenance jobs from 2000 to 2016 that were late, 22, or about 44 percent, were fewer than 16 days late, shipyard officials said. They said contributors to the delays included:
>> High submarine usage post-9/11 resulting in increased intermediate-level work that requires greater management attention. The work on deployed or deployable submarines “is the highest priority fleet work,” the shipyard said.
>> Introduction of the Virginia-class submarine while maintaining older Los Angeles-class subs. Four Virginia-class and about 16 Los Angeles subs are based at Pearl Harbor.
>> A changing workforce with significant hiring coupled with an increased attrition rate has reduced worker experience.
>> Antiquated and aging infrastructure, increased workload complexity and budget uncertainties.
Shipyard officials also acknowledged it needs to continue to work on its own performance. One problem for a past commander was the annual holiday week shipyard closure, which saw work slack off the week before and continue at a slow pace for a couple of weeks after…..
Related: GAO: Pearl Harbor Shipyard in Bad Shape
read … Pearl Harbor shipyard is Navy’s most backlogged
USA Today: Save Puerto Rico from crippling Jones Act
USA Today: Puerto Rico was an economic wreck even before Hurricane Maria flattened the island.
Its 3.4 million U.S. citizens suffered years of economic decline from vanishing business investment, thanks in part to Congress rescinding corporate tax incentives that had propped up the local economy for decades. The territory is burdened by tens of billions of dollars in bond debt and unfunded pension obligations. Making matters worse is an antiquated law, known as the Jones Act, that artificially hikes the cost of living on the island.
The cruel result is an island — the median household income is about $19,000, and more than 40% live below the national poverty line — where the cost of living is 13% higher than the continental United States. People pay 60 cents more for a gallon of milk than on the mainland, 55 cents more for a head of lettuce and a $1.58 more for a box of Corn Flakes.
A major reason for this is the Jones Act….
As for the Jones Act, the president waived it for Puerto Rico for just 10 days as part of hurricane relief. But the clock was to run out on that respite at midnight Sunday. It's long overdue that Puerto Rico, like the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands, be permanently exempted from the law. Abolishing the Jones Act altogether would spread the benefits to other territories as well as Alaska and Hawaii.
Facing months without power while struggling to reassemble storm-shredded lives, the last thing Puerto Ricans need is to pay inflated costs for basic necessities just to appease the nation's domestic shipping industry….
read … Save Puerto Rico from crippling Jones Act
Crooked European Prosecutor Uses Omidyar as Spy
TT: Documents leaked from within the International Criminal Court (ICC) have shown how its chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, was not shy about seeking the help of the rich and famous….
The disclosures, part of a haul of 40,000 documents obtained by the French investigative website Madiapart and seen by The Sunday Times, reveal his contact with the Hollywood stars George Clooney and Sean Penn, as well as the wife of the founder of eBay.
Moreno Ocampo was also in frequent contact with Pamela Omidyar, wife of the eBay founder, Pierre. The ICC is examining whether his conversations with Omidyar, which disclosed the views of two African heads of state on the arrest of a Congolese warlord, were a breach of his duty of confidentiality….
Crooked: Luis Moreno Ocampo
read … Just Imagine What They’re doing with your Electronic Records